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New Zealand and Australia through to semifinal showdown

Story highlights

  • New Zealand and Australia will clash in the Rugby World Cup semifinals after wins on Sunday
  • Hosts the All Blacks ran out comfortable 33-10 winners over Argentina in Auckland
  • Australia produced a shock by defeating holders South Africa 11-9 in the other quarterfinal
  • The winners will face either France or Wales in next week's final

Rivals New Zealand and Australia will clash in the semifinals of the Rugby World Cup after both nations claimed contrasting victories in Sunday's remaining two quarterfinals.

Host nation New Zealand secured their place in the last four with a comfortable 33-10 victory over 2007 third-placed team Argentina in Auckland, bucking a trend that had seen the three previous last eight matches go to the underdogs on the day.

That sequence had continued in Sunday's first quarterfinal when Australia beat holders South Africa 11-9 in a tight match in Wellington, ensuring the 'curse of the defending champions' struck again, with no side ever retaining their World Cup title in the competition's history.

New Zealand had Piri Weepu to thank for their success over a determined Argentina side. The scrum half took over kicking duties in the absence of the legendary Dan Carter and converted 21 points by scoring seven penalties.

Weepu's contribution for the All Blacks was vital as the Pumas started the match stronger and actually took the lead 7-6 when flanker Julio Farias Cabello went over for a converted try.

New Zealand's first try did not come until 13 minutes from time when No.8 Kieran Read finally breached the dogged Argentine defense, and lock Brad Thorn ran 25 meters for a late score to put the icing on the cake.

    Meanwhile, a dour contest saw Wallabies captain James Horwill score the only try against South Africa, a score that appeared harsh on the holders who had dominated possession without being able to get through an organized Australian backline.

    "The boys came of age in the way they accepted the challenge and stood up to it," Australia coach Robbie Deans, who will now be facing his native New Zealand next weekend, told reporters. "You saw an epic World Cup encounter out there."

    The defeat also marked the end of an era for South African rugby, with coach Peter de Villiers announcing his resignation after the match while Springbok captain John Smit confirmed his Test retirement.

    Those results mean Six Nations rivals France and Wales will face each other at Eden Park in the first semifinal next Saturday before, 24 hours later, the Auckland ground stages the All Blacks' showdown against Australia.